My grandma lived on an island and the only way to reach her cottage was over a long causeway. But every childhood visit was heightened by the expectation of making it across. High tide, bad weather, jellyfish blooms-well not really but in my imagination they swarmed-rendered crossing the causeway impassable as it lay beneath the murk of the sea.
Causeways link two distinct places, island to island, island to mainland, one land mass to another. But unlike bridges they are far more vulnerable to the elements and forces of nature. If the tide was high it was a long wait in the car until the cold grey waters of East Anglia receded enough so we could cross.
Sometimes the links between thoughts and actions are firm and definable like bridges. You can cross back and forth as you please. But sometimes they are like navigating causeways. You have to wait for conditions to be right.
The desire to cross a predictable bridge with swift passage from A to B is strong, well-trodden, easy. But so often these aren’t the roads we face. The times we are in find me waiting for the tide to go down and to be accepting of that. Around me are the flat damp mud flats of the mainland, across the causeway and through the jellyfish is the light of a cottage.
I’ll get there but it’ll take a bit longer than expected. ©
Celebrate the people you love because who knows when things might change?
We can’t help pushing forward with our own wants and desires but we have to make time for love. Love for partners, family, and friends. Whoever makes your heart crack when you think about missing them.
Without giving our love we are just bystanders in life, not really committing, and if you’re not present then you miss out. So, if you’ve been forgetting to tell the people you care about how much and why you love them, do it today. Every day is an opportunity to acknowledge and be grateful for all the love in our lives.
Okay. This is my first blog in a long time and I’m doing something I don’t usually do and posting without drafting first. This is a bit intense-sort of like public speaking without practicing but if I don’t do it I never will. I probably wouldn’t advise this as a long term public platform strategy because we’ve all witnessed the toe curling awkwardness of an ill planned speech so let’s think of this more like karaoke. After all, we can all forgive a poor but heartfelt rendition of Adele’s, Someone Like You.
I have found it so hard to write. So hard to do something I really enjoy. What’s with that? Am I alone? Are you artists not painting, are you fitness fiends not at the gym, you singers missing choir to watch Netflix, you cooks ordering take away? We are in a funk people. And just for your information funk is being in a bad space, avoiding things out of fear, you get the drift. Funk!
I’ve been avoiding my computer. I’ve been locking it in a cupboard. Not because I’m bonkers but because I’m living overseas and my guest house is not equipped with four star safe security. So I cover it with my undies to keep it and my passport safe. This of course means every day when I go to get fresh pants-and lets be honest sometimes not so fresh-I see it. Staring expectantly up at me, eager for attention like a tiger dog. I ignore it, not because I think it may be rabid but because I don’t know where to start.
But today is the day. Fear, self-doubt, uncertainty, have made me jumpy and the irony is, when I get in such a mindset it is hard to grasp and action the things I know make a difference.
So why post today? Good question. It has to do with another of my great passions-food. There is the most delicious restaurant right down my road. Sage. Fabulous name on so many levels. Gourmet vegan cuisine. And when you order, around a napkin and your utensils is wrapped a little message.
This was mine.
You will get there when you are meant to get there and not one moment sooner. So relax, breathe, and be patient.
It was exactly what I needed. I have been patient and all the time I’ve not been writing I’ve been doing other things. So if you find yourself in the midst of an inner struggle do not underestimate the efforts you make to regroup and the self reliance you gain in the process. When the time is right you will be ready to re-embrace your passions. See I’ve already started a story…
Before you embark on a massive life change you cannot possibly imagine what your life will be like two, three weeks after the event. Where will you be living, how will you get around, what will the weather be like. And this is only the tip of a relocation iceberg. Lurking in the deep blue waters of life change are bigger questions and darker answers. Feelings and emotions, you had absolutely no idea you’d feel. So, as Eliza Stipend sipped her bitter coffee it should come as no surprise she burst into tears. The tears of -what the hell am I doing-gulped out of her. But for Eliza and so many who forge out into the unknown solo there was no one there to give her a hug.
Better post before I edit!
‘The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.’
This quote is so simple and beautiful I wanted to share it. It is a reminder to be present not bystanders in our lives.
Our lives are always see-sawing, trying to balance, to find equilibrium and sometimes we manage to achieve it. So, if your mind and body are in a good place it is important to make the most of it. There are many people who would like to be living differently but for various reasons are unable to.
If things are going well we have an opportunity to celebrate life and give back to it. These moments are rare. Happiness, joy and simplicity are precious, fleeting gifts which should never be wasted. By embracing love, hope and the moments which move us we are truly living.
There Are No Words
Four chunks of letters strung together
Four beads of meaning that tell us there is nothing to say
There are no words for some things
The place beneath language
Why bother to describe the hollow of despair
The home of things too unbearable to bear
So, in their absence we turn
to a wrenching sob
to a clenching hug
to the truth they were loved
A shuddered surrender to the unfathomable
There are no words.
My brother told me about a conversation he had with my niece. She wants to enter a fiercely competitive field, full of people who seem so much more qualified and suitable for it than her. He stopped her as she talked herself out of it, mid-sentence of self-doubt, mid flourish of the tendency to accept failure before we even begin. And simply said to her, ‘Why not you?’
Of course he then went on to list all the reasons why she should try, why she was as competent as the next person and so on. But it was those three words which struck me.
Most people I meet are a lot more talented, creative, hard-working and loving than they give themselves credit for. We are pretty realistic too, so often the things we aspire to are not way out of reach. If we can just make the leap of faith to try, or in some cases feel we are worthy, then who knows where we might end up.
To believe in ourselves enough to attempt the things we want is tough. There is absolutely no guarantee of ease and success. Rejection and failure happen and are good reasons not to put yourself out there. Sometimes the things we seek are not realistic but isn’t hanging onto what we can’t achieve a way to avoid what we can. Yes, the trip could be a disaster, the relationship awful and bruised with regrets, even the career you’ve worked so hard for may be full of disappointment.
But what if it wasn’t?
Want to feel that sparkle not the dread of the unknown? The glow of satisfaction that your hard work is paying off. The promise of possibility and optimism which brings us to life. The readiness to make a difference? In which case, ‘Why not you?’
‘I loved… against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.’ Charles Dickens-Great Expectations
Near where I live is a spectacular coastal cliff path. A half neglected track of rubbly rocks fringed with those tough looking shrubs which can survive howling winds and salty air. It is the perfect place to clear your head. And along the path is a lookout thrust out over the sea. For years, lovers, family and friends have attached lovelocks to the railings much like the bridges in Paris. But one day they were all gone. The lookout had been remodeled and all the lovelocks removed.
But last week I went walking along that path, some new locks had been added and it made me smile. I’d just read this quote from Great Expectations with Pip describing his feelings for Estella. Now we all know our great romantic loves and passions may not last, they may be misguided or ambushed by life, but for an instant, for a while, it is one of life’s great gifts to love another person. Lovelocks like love in real life can be removed or be transient but for a moment they are a symbol of our conviction, optimism and capacity to give of ourselves.
In a world so full of distrust and disharmony it is important to remind ourselves that love exists and is thriving. However you choose, loudly or quietly, or even with a lovelock, it is important to declare our love and promise to the people we cherish. They may be a partner, a relative, or a friend but by doing so we set an example that to live with love and hope is better than to live with fear.
There is a Pima story from Southern Arizona which has always made me smile. My favourite version is from the book, And It Is Still That Way, which I found when I was living with my grandmother in America.
One night all the dogs gathered for a dance in a field. Dogs came from far and wide. To dance better they took off their tails and hung them on corn plants. But the dogs were startled and in a panic they grabbed any old tail. When they got home they realised they had picked up the wrong one and that is why they sniff each other. They are looking for their own tail.
In a world so full of self pressure we can be like those dogs. Not literally sniffing each others behinds but in a frenzy finding our own identity. Why is this so hard? Are we reared on comparison and the belief we are never enough or even too much? Maybe. Are we so bombarded by the expectations of others we have lost ourselves? Perhaps. Or is it a mixture of all these things which set us adrift and in so doing we lose our authentic selves.
Being our authentic self is hard and often it doesn’t last forever but when we are being true it’s like wearing our own perfect tail and it sure feels good. The desire to compare yourself to others slips away and instead of finding fault you can find joy in who you are. When we are our true selves we can really appreciate the essence, energies and spirit of others.
Things that stop us finding our tails are feelings of doubt and uncertainty, we are nervous and hesitate to trust our individuality. Instead we can waste time mulling on the idea that other people are doing better but in reality they are probably managing life’s ups and downs as well as we are. So don’t try to wear somebody else’s tail because it just won’t fit and will probably look ridiculous.
In the story the dogs never do find their own tails, they are still looking, but we can. The right tail feels authentic. It adds to you rather than detracts, swooshes with ease and confidence. So believe in yourself because your tail will never look good on someone else and there’s will never be right for you.